14 Jan Deep Matters supports The Great Bubble Barrier in their fight against The plastic soup.
In 2017 it came to Deep Matters’ attention that the “bubblers” developed a product that offers a solution for the litter that contributes daily to the plastic soup in the oceans. They have designed an innovative “screen” of bubbles that stops plastic waste in rivers and canals reaching the ocean. Deep Matters didn’t hesitate to help and approached these ladies on how to contribute to their mission. The answer: Providing a place to work! The co-founders of The Great Bubble Barrier were looking for a new office space and Deep was able to provide exactly that.
Francis (28), Saskia (28) and Anne Marieke (29) know each other from the sailing school in Aalsmeer where they used to teach during summer. All three of them are sailors and therefore regularly confronted with the impact of plastic pollution in our waters. It was in 2015, whilst in a bar in Amsterdam, that they first discussed the topic that a solution had to be found for plastic waste before it reaches the oceans. Why not, they wondered, create a “barrier” of bubbles which can stop the plastic in rivers and other waterways, so that it does not end up in our oceans? The Great Bubble Barrier (TGBB) was born.
A smart solution to plastic pollution
Further developing an existing technique of a screen of air, used in the oil industry to separate fresh and salt water, it is possible to stop plastic without it hindering vessels or fish. The Bubble Barrier creates a bubble screen from the bottom of the river to the water’s surface, the upward flow leads to waste floating in the water column. “In the end, you don’t just want to stop the plastic, you want it to be routed from the water to the shore,” says Saskia Studer, responsible for design & communication within TGBB. “Therefore, the bubble screen is placed diagonally. By slanting the screen, the natural current is used to guide the plastic to the shore, which makes it easy to collect and dispose. This makes the concept of The Bubble Barrier unique.”
Technique of the Bubble barrier
After winning the first prize for the Plastic Free Rivers Makathon in July 2016, TGBB has undergone a tremendous development in a short time. In May 2018, a successful crowdfunding was realized for the first permanent Bubble Barrier and the product has now been developed into an applicable solution which can be used in large rivers as well as smaller canals and channels.”The Great Bubble Barrier is much more than just a technical solution. Only, the development and presentation to the public is not yet sufficient”, says Saskia. “More awareness of the plastic problem within society is at the basis of this change.” Our role is to tell the public about the impact of plastic and we focus on partnerships with organizations and foundations that are committed to a solution for the plastic problem. ”
Three new faces at Deeps’ Office in Amsterdam-Noord; the ladies of The Great Bubble Barrier!
Three years now the co-founders are working full time for the social enterprise. Last September they were awarded with the first prize in the Green Challenge, one of the world’s largest competitions for sustainability entrepreneurs, winning 500.000 euro.“We have been talking to all parties involved for over two years now, from regional water authorities to the ministry. It also depends on finding the right persons within these organizations. “Currently TGBB is in contact with several potential customers, which concern not only non-commercial organizations”.